The Angels are 34-30 after 40% of the season has been played. This might be a disappointment if you left the country on Opening Day and did not follow the team at all until now. But for those of us who were involuntarily dragged through the deep mud of April by this team, 4 games over .500 and 3.5 games out of the division race seems like a second chance on life.
They started the season 6-14, called up Mike Trout and puttered out a 12-10 record that included a lost 1-2 weekend in San Diego. Since the loss of Vernon Wells during the final game of the Padres Series - an injury which coincided with a Solar Eclipse - the Angels have gone 16-6 and been in pretty much every game. Coming off a sweep of the Rockies in Colorado, they just took two of three games from the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, the team with the best record in baseball and the best home record in baseball. This despite their Ace being on the disabled list. It is almost time for mid-terms, so here is the team's report card going into midseason...
Mike Trout ...all the superlatives can't say enough. Rickey Henderson meets Tim Salmon might be an understatement.
Mark Trumbo ...the harsh offseason analysis of his swing overlooked that he was still in the developmental age window of improving and to hear him describe it, the quantitative, self-critical approach to hitting that he has taken flies in the face of analytical assumptions about player ceilings existing in a vacuum removed from them addressing issues that the numbers reveal. Is Trumbo the first quantum-mechanic post-Saber player? Or is he just the latest guy to "figure it out" when the naysayers can't explain why a kid would improve beyond their expectations?
C.J. Wilson ...The best signing of the 2012 offseason. Anywhere. The Angels would be 9 games back at best with anyone else in the 2/3 spot of the rotation.
Jered Weaver ...A no hitter and many other highlights. The silver lining in his back spasm visit to the DL is some rest that he has not had mid-season since he pitched for Long Beach State.
Scott Downs ...Avoiding the Disabled list is an art in itself but perhaps full rest would have helped him be more at the ready when needed. Lights out on the field, though.
Ernesto Frieri ...The walk rate is scary. Otherwise let's roll.
Albert Pujols ...That slow, anti-sublime start is still a little too close for him to get that expected A.
Torii Hunter ...Some power is still there and decent ABs plus stellar defense but perhaps most importantly is that ever elusive chemistry so scorned and yet so necessary.
LaTroy Hawkins ...Not enough time on the field to get an A grade but just about there.
Jason Isringhausen ...I thought the only grade he would get was DFA but in the same number of games as Scott Downs and in two more innings he has allowed 5 runs total.
Kendrys Morales ...Just completed a few games of impressive fielding in the NL but overall a slow and tender rehab season that portends to a stunted career. Maybe 2012 will be a Boras-inspired contract year but a no-fielding slow footed semi-powered bat should be thrilled to get a passing grade.
Dan Haren ...Too many damn homeruns surrendered to rank you higher, Dan. the numbers are good otherwise but that long ball when it is least expected, usually early in the game to create a demoralizing hole, it adds up to a hope you put something better together.
Jerome Williams ...unlike Haren, you might be overachieving to get this grade. Keep it up.
Hisanori Takahashi ...You rocketed up the charts from DFA land to the semi-respectability of people insisting in hindsight that you should have entered a game.
Jordan Walden ...The bane of at least one owner in every fantasy league in America. He has faced 90 batters. 30 have gotten on base. Closer no more = faith no mas either.
Howie Kendrick ...Reaching new lows wherever you go. A few clutch hits aside and minus two or three of those three game hot streaks that make you look divine, you are basically a league average player who no longer has the gap power of way too many doubles early in your career. 28 going on 39.
Alberto Callaspo ...You do one thing great still in all the time you have been here: you are not Brandon Wood. Maybe it is time to do just a little more than that, though. yeah?
Peter Bourjos ...From supplanting Torii Hunter to having less of a role than Reggie Willits in less than two seasons. Wow.
Chris Iannetta ...After catching Weave's no-no you abandoned us to the DL.
David Carpenter ...You have faced about as many batters as Jordan Walden. You have allowed only 7 more hits than him and 6 fewer walks. Guess a walk is not as bad as a hit after all and your numbers show it.
Maicer Izturis ...Failing at almost everything he used to be good at, he picks this terrible season to be the one he doesn't get injured.
Erick Aybar ...He did not fall off a cliff, he just took every redeeming characteristic of his game and voluntarily dumped them off a cliff just to make you angry. It is as if he is a Rangers fan he sabotages this team with such precision.
Ervin Santana ...I'm out of insults. It is too bad he was actually piecing together a legacy with this team before this disastrous season of incompetency occurred.
Kevin Jepsen ...I get this weird feeling that we haven't seen the last of him but that after next time we will have seen the last of him.
Bobby Cassevah ...like a bland chicken-fried steak, send this kid back to the Salt Lake kitchen, he needs more seasoning.
All Non-Iannetta Catchers ...In the words of Darby Crash, the man who pioneered Hank Conger's fugly hairstyle, "Dump the whole balcony". We wanted Jeff Mathis gone and we got it. Bobby Wilson started 27 games for this club an there wasn't ever really an option besides him once Colorado Chris Wrist went down.
Vernon Wells ...His absence has been an A+, proving the Jungian sense that the shadow must carry with it too the possibility of intense light.
Kole Calhoun, David Pauley, Garrett Richards, Ryan Langerhans
Bobby Abreu, Alexi Amarista, Rich Thompson
Are these the grades you expected? Would you give these same grades?